I'm still experimenting with the Nissan Continuous Variable Transmission; I've driven it about 600 miles so far. I haven't come to a conclusion yet whether I should just leave it in 'D' and let the automatic transmission do its thing, or to put it into the manual mode and use the up/down shift paddle.
For those not familiar, the Nissan CVT has a mode where the shifter lever is moved over into a special 'manual' zone. When in this zone, tapping the shifter in one direction shifts up, and in the other direction shifts down. Since it's a continuous variable transmission and there are therefore no distinct gears, the paddle moves the transmission belt into 6 preset positions. When the car comes to a stop, the shifter automatically downshifts to 1.
I find in 'D' that it tries to keep the RPM around 2000. That's fine most of the time, but slowing into a turn it seems to drop below 2000 and labors the engine trying to gently accelerate out of the turn. If I goose the throttle it jumps into action, but that's not what I'm after ( gas costing what it does these days! ). If I take manual control, I can downshift to 3 just before a turn and have lots of pep to accelerate out of the turn with the RPM up around 2500-3000. The automatic mode is just fine from a stop accelerating to driving speed; it's just the turns that are sluggish.
So far, I've been using the manual mode if I know I'll be in a situation with lots of turns, then push it back to automatic when I get to the long straight sections or to the highway. The only down-side with this is sometimes I get distracted waiting at a light and forget that I need to upshift until the engine starts getting a little noisy over 4000 RPM in 1st gear.
Does anyone have any experience with the CVT? Have you done much with the manual mode? Any thoughts? Don't tell me I should have bought a manual transmission if I wanted control; I know that! Been there, done that for decades.